With roughly five weeks left until all NFL teams are scheduled to report to training camp, you can expect quite a few lists and rankings to surface from the major media outlets in the coming month. This isn’t an unusual part of the offseason content fodder, however, and due to the coronavirus pandemic, we might be in store for even more lists and rankings than usual. CBS Sports HQ seemingly has a good head start when it comes to NFL positional rankings this offseason and on Wednesday they addressed yet another few positions, edge-rushers and defensive linemen, with one member of the Pittsburgh Steelers perched atop one of those set of rankings and another listed at No. 7 in another set.
In his top-10 list of NFL edge-rushers for the 2020 season, Ryan Wilson of CBS Sports HQ has Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt ranked first overall and he’s followed by Cleveland Browns defensive end Myles Garrett. His top five edge-rusher list rounds out with Chandler Jones of the Arizona Cardinals, third, Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints, fourth, and Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers, fifth.
Watt being tops on Wilson’s edge-rusher list for 2020 isn’t a huge surprise and that even takes into consideration that he’s a huge fan of the Steelers. Last season, Watt, who was a legitimate candidate to win the annual Defensive Player of the Year Award, registered 14.5 sacks, 19 quarterback hits and 44 hurries, according to Pro Football Focus stats. He also tallied 8 total forced fumbles in 2019 with most of those coming via pass rushes.
That strong 2019 season aside, does Watt really deserve to be the top-ranked pass rusher in the NFL heading into 2020? That’s certainly debatable and very much will be on Twitter the next several days. No matter where you think Watt should be ranked, anything outside of the top five is probably the wrong assessment.
Wilson’s top ten defensive linemen for the 2020 season also includes a member of the Steelers and it is defensive tackle Cameron Heyward at No. 7 on the list. Ranked ahead of Heyward in order from first to sixth are Aaron Donald, Chris Jones, Kenny Clark, Grady Jarrett, Fletcher Cox, and DeForest Buckner.
Heyward more than deserves to be in the top 10 for 2020. Last season he registered nine sacks, 14 quarterback hits and 36 hurries, according to PFF stats. Heyward is due a contract extension later this summer as he’s now in the final year of his current deal. Assuming a deal is ultimately consummated, expect Heyward to easily exit that contract autograph session as one of the NFL’s top ten highest paid defensive linemen.
As you see below, Heyward is not impressed that he’s ranked seventh overall.
One final note, former Steelers defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, who signed a free agent contract with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this offseason, is ranked tenth overall on Wilson’s list of 10.